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India vs England, 4th Test, Day 1: Axar & Ashwin spin a web around the English batsmen


England won the toss and elected to bat first in the final test match at the Narendra Modi Stadium. England’s attempt to build a massive total was initially breached by Mohammed Siraj while Axar Patel and Ravi Ashwin spun the English batsman back to the pavilion. England scored 205 runs while India were 24/1 at the end of the day’s play.

Axar Patel picked up 4 wickets in yet another impressive performance in his debut series | Image Source: BCCI Twitter

Having won the toss to get an opportunity to put up a massive total, the English openers Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley failed to impress yet again. While Sibley lost his wicket to yet another straighter one from Axar Patel in the 5th over, Crawley was unsuccessful to smash the left-arm spinner over the top of mid-off in his next over instead presented a simple catch to Siraj.

Mohammed Siraj was indeed looking lively at the start of his spell and came back even stronger in his second spell where he setup Root with out-swingers in one over and got him LBW with an in-swinger in the first ball of his next over. Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes took England safely to Lunch having gotten together at 30/3 in the 13th over. Bairstow played some wonderful shots after his initial flirty spell with the outside edge and Stokes looked positive as ever as England were 74/3 in 25 overs at Lunch.

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Siraj came up with another wonderful execution of the drawing board stuff when he got Bairstow LBW in the 4th over after Lunch. Ollie Pope seemed to have taken some vital tips from a former masterful batsman of spin as he and Stokes looked solid for the next half an hour or so after lunch. While Axar and Ashwin struggled to break the resilience of the duo, Washington Sundar came up with the goods when his straighter ball tailed in ever so slightly to bamboozle Ben Stokes and he was caught plump in front of the stumps.

While Ravi Ashwin seemed to be struggling with his consistency, Dan Lawrence and Ollie Pope beautifully smothered the spin as England went into Tea at 144/5 in 56 overs. Ravi Ashwin came up with a couple of tricky deliveries before he enticed Ollie Pope into playing a false shot which resulted in one of the freakiest bat-pad dismissals of all time leaving Pope, Gill & Ashwin equally stunned. Axar Patel and Ravi Ashwin then wrapped up the rest of the tail for merely 39 runs as none of the English batsmen showed any further application.

Mohammed Siraj setup Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root for his two wickets | Image Source: BCCI Twitter

England were bowled out for a modest 205 in 75.5 overs with Axar Patel yet again having stunning figures of 26-7-68-4 while Ravi Ashwin also got 3 wickets to add to the 2 in-swinging LBW’s of Siraj and the wicket of Ben Stokes by Washington Sundar. Ben Stokes was the best English batsman with 55 runs to his name and only Dan Lawrence’s 46 did show any resilience for the visitors.

India lost the wicket of Shubman Gill in the 3rd ball of their inning as James Anderson came up with a sharp in-swinger that caught Gill on the knee roll in front of the stumps. Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma later ensured that India showed the resolve to end the Day without losing another wicket as they trail by 181 runs and have 9 wickets in hand. With the pitch still being in a decent shape to bat on, India will be hoping to cross the 300-run barrier tomorrow.

Stay tuned on the website and “The Sports Doyen” YouTube Channel for all the coverage of England’s Tour of India! Cheers!

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